Let me start by saying that you will notice that none of these players, except Sammie Lee Hill, are on the current FA lists. That's the point, and the reason why this isn't simply placed under the Weekly FA Post. Everything in this post is purely speculation based off of salary cap standings, trade rumors, and individual team rosters. I deliberately left Peyton Manning off of this list because that has been discussed ad nauseum. It shouldn't be surprising which teams these players come from as they are the notorious big spenders of the NFL.
With the new rules and regulations regarding salary cap, teams are going to be under increasing pressure to make sure they are under the cap. This will result in an increase in surprising cuts and trades so that teams can avoid the new penalties. This is a list of names that have an increased chance of hitting the FA market that may be of interest to our front office and coaching staff.
1. Tony Romo - QB - Dallas Cowboys: As teams get fired up for the likely Peyton Manning sweepstakes, there are a number of teams that may jettison their current starters in favor of the future Hall of Famer. Tony Romo is easily the best of the QBs who may be sent packing by their current team. Depending on who you ask he is a Top 5 or Top 10 QB in the NFL, he has all the tools, and he has played on a major stage. Kansas City could be a great, low-pressure, platform for him to take the next step.
2. Marcus McNeil - LT - San Diego Chargers: The Chargers are going to have some cap concerns, so there is almost no way they can keep both McNeil and Jared Gaither. With McNeil coming off a neck injury, he becomes the bigger risk for them to keep. At his best, McNeil is an All-Pro caliber LT. Will he still play at that level? Hard to say, but he would be worth the shot and can give us some more flexibility with our o-line.
3. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - DB - Philadelphia Eagles: With Brandon Carr being an uncertain for us, DRC could be a huge addition. There is almost no way that the Eagles can afford to keep Asomugha, Samuel, and DRC on board, and Rodgers-Cromartie is the likely odd man out. He probably isn't quite as good as Carr, but he wouldn't be a dramatic fall off in talent. Another option would be to perhaps add him as OUR #3 CB. Pricey option there, but possible.
4. Sammie Lee Hill - DT - Detroit Lions (Restricted Free Agent): The Lions are stacked at DT and may have to cut one loose. It's hard to imagine that being Suh, Fairley, or Williams. Hill is a big body with talent, but needs refinement. He is strong, can get off blocks, and has shown the ability to push the pocket and get after the passer. However, he is inconsistent. No, he hasn't played the 3-4 technique (at least not in the NFL), but he has the size needed. Could be a solid addition as a rotation player, or he could find his stride under Romeo Crennel. The Lions could tender him, but there wouldn't seem to be much point with what they already have and the fact they need to make some cap room.
5. Felix Jones - RB - Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys appear to have moved on from Jones, who never seemed to take the next step in his career. He has all the skills to be successful, but for some reason just never broke out. He has never averaged below 4 ypc in his career, but has never been a feature back either. The Cowboys are supposedly trying to shop him right now, but it's pretty obvious they don't intend to keep him, so why would anyone trade for him? Jones is better than any of our current backup options and could provide a good change of pace to Jamaal Charles, but would also keep some home run ability on the field when he does so.
6. Stanford Routt - DB - Oakland Raiders: Perhaps the single most overpaid athlete in the NFL, if Routt isn't willing to restructure his contract, it isn't hard to think Reggie McKenzie will send him packing. The new Raiders front office is quickly trying to distance itself from the Crazy Old Al days, and getting rid of an inflated contract like Routt is a likely starting point. While Routt is definitely overpaid, it doesn't mean he doesn't have any talent. He wouldn't be a replacement for Carr, but he could be a solid #3 CB who is physical enough to give slot receivers a lot of problems.
7. Thomas Davis - OLB - Carolina Panthers: Not a likely addition to the Chiefs roster, but Davis does have excellent speed and athleticism. He's had an injury history that will likely lead the Panthers to cutting him to avoid his roster bonus of $8 mil. He wouldn't be an every down player for us, more like a quality depth guy behind DJ who can come in on sub packages that call for more athleticism. In that role, he would be very valuable, but it's tough to gauge what his price tag will be. Definitely a debatable option, but if the price is right, he's worth a look.
8. Darren McFadden - RB - Oakland Raiders: When he's at his best, he's a Top 5 NFL RB...but when's the last time he's been at his best? It's almost impossible for the Raiders to keep both McFadden and Michael Bush on the roster, and you can easily argue that Bush has been the more reliable of the two. Boy, could you imagine a backfield of Jamaal Charles and Darren McFadden? I don't like to use Madden video game comparisons, but that's what we would be looking at. Of course, there is a chance that he will still command a high dollar contract, so it would be tough to justify spending that kind of money on an injury-prone player who would be splitting carries. However, with the uncertainty of Jamaal Charles coming off an ACL tear, it may be worth a one year deal.
9. Jason Witten - TE - Dallas Cowboys: Yeah, you read that right. The Cowboys are estimated at being $17 mil over the cap, which leads the league. And since they didn't even make the playoffs, it's a sure bet that Jerry Jones plans to be active in Free Agency. That means we can expect some departures from the roster. With the Cowboys focus having turned to their WRs (Bryant, Austin, Robinson, and Ogletree), and the fact they have a young and talented TE in Bennett, it's not too much of a stretch to imagine the veteran Witten being let go. And there is no doubt that we could use a guy like Witten. Not only would he upgrade the position, but he would also provide veteran leadership and would serve as a mentor to Tony Moeaki.
10. Ty Warren - DE - Denver Broncos: The Broncos are another team over the cap, and with John Fox at the helm, it is likely that they make the move to a base 4-3 defense. That could make Ty Warren expendable both because he isn't as good a fit for the scheme, and because he is one of the older players on the roster. The obvious New England ties are there, and there may be a need for him. Warren plays strong against the run, but also has some pass rushing skills that we are sorely missing amongst our front 3. With the futures of Dorsey, Gordon, and Gilberry all being questionable in KC, Warren could certainly fill an immediate role while Bailey continues to develop.